NCCAA Tournament Recap

By Justin Perry

Men’s Basketball

If you’re a college basketball fan, you obviously love March Madness. I think it’s safe to say that even if you didn’t like college basketball, you still love March Madness. Over March 15-18, Grace College hosted 16 teams from all over the U.S. to participate in the NCCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball National Tournament.

The men had a great first night in NCCAA action. In quarterfinal action, the Lancers were able to come away with the 86-80 double overtime win over Central Baptist (Ark.). It was a low-scoring affair but the teams were able to rally and make things interesting in the second half.

Erik Bowen was a star that night. Bowen recorded 31 points, a career high, and scored the free throw to send the game into its second overtime.

In the semi-finals, No. 4 seeded Grace College took on No. 1 seed Colorado Christian.  The Cougars of Colorado Christian, a NCCAA Division-2 team, punched their ticket to the national championship game after defeating the Lancers 79-72. Grace struggled to make their shots in the first half as only 33 percent of them went in. CCU had 52 percent of their shots find the bottom of the net. Colorado Christian would end up defeating Ohio Christian in the national championship game.

Since the Lancers won their first game on Wednesday night, Grace had a break on Friday. Was the break a hindrance or a help to the Lancers? Grace College took on Emmanuel College (Ga.) in the fourth place game at the NCCAA National Tournament. This game was a dandy to go to. Grace and Emmanuel went back and forth, but Emmanuel was able to come out on top after a last second shot made by the Red Lions. Grace had just a couple of seconds to send up a prayer to win the game, but fell short allowing Emmanuel to go home with the third place trophy.

Women’s Basketball

Lady Lancers celebrating the victory. Picture by Chantel Shelter.

“Not all teams get the best starts. There is better luck next year.” That’s exactly what could be heard in the Manahan Orthopedic Capital Center on the first night of the 2017 NCCAA National Tournament. Grace was pitted up against one of the better teams there in the women’s division, Emmanuel College (Ga.). Despite putting in their all, the Lady Lancers fell to the Lady Red Lions, 73-53. The Lady Lancers struggled to make their shots as they went only 25 percent in field goal shooting.

What happens to a team that falls? They get right back up. The Lady Lancers took on Bluefield College (Va.) and won in impressive fashion, thanks to Kelsie Peterson’s two free throws at the end of the game to win it all. Bluefield was up by four points in the remaining minute of the ball game. Grace stepped up to the challenge and came away with a big win and enough momentum to carry over for the next day.

Playing in the fifth place game isn’t what teams want exactly. However, this was the final time the seniors would be able to lace up their Nikes and play the game they love. The Lady Lancers ended their season on a high note winning over Southwestern Christian (Okla.), 64-63. This was Grace’s second one-point victory of the tournament. The Lady Lancers finished the season 17-19, the team’s second best finish since 2012.